TODAY   |  November 29, 2012

How to lose the belly fat, reduce diabetes risk

TODAY contributor Joy Bauer shares tricks to trim your waistline including the miraculous properties of green tea, the benefit of eating cucumbers and dark chocolate, and how five apples a week really can keep the doctor away.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> it.

>> whether it snuck up on you or when you hit 40 or you stuffed yourself like a thanksgiving turkey last week, belly fat is difficult to lose.

>> joy bauer has healthy snack options and help you reduce diabetes. that is a problem area for a lot of women.

>> bottom line is, you can't spot reduce, but there are tricks you can do to lose fat all over. the best part is that the belly fat tends to mobilize first.

>> really?

>> these foods work.

>> green tea .

>> everybody loves a soothing cup of tea . now we have research if you sip on either green tea or black tea before a meal or with the meal, it helps to actually play interference with the breakdown of starch. starch meaning rice, pasta or p potatoes.

>> before or during?

>> before or during. it can be green or black. all tea is virtually calorie-free and fills you up with fluid so you wind up pulling back on the main meal. you eat less and you will lose the belly fat . take advantage of the festive varieties now, cinnamon and spice.

>> what do we have here?

>> i called these stuffed cukes. i'm replacing a cracker with a low-calorie, low-carb cucumber.

>> what is that tuna?

>> you can do chicken salad , tuna salad , crab salad. this is a holiday inspired hors d'oeuvre. you light mayo or nonfat greek yogurt .

>> we need to try this. it's delicious.

>> nice part about a cucumber, it's more than 95% water. the more water you take in, the more water and sodium you flush out.

>> a lot of people have trouble with cucumbers. they return on them, shall we say.

>> nice way of putting it.

>> i think that pecans should be the official nut of the holidays. when you toast pecans in your home, nothing makes your kitchen smell more fabulous. they are very low carb . it's a filling, fiber, you have to stop at about two handfuls, but if you sprinkle these with a little cinnamon, the cinnamon helps to keep your blood sugar stable. it is really an ultimate hunger-squelching snack.

>> this is my go-to food.

>> i need to eat more fruit.

>> an apple a day keeps the doctor away to an apple a day keeps debites away. if you eat an apple a day, you have a less likely chance of developing diabetes.

>> is it pectin?

>> a combination of the pectin and fiber but also these special antioxidants in the apple. they are so low maintenance . they are portion control. i love honey crisp right now. 100 calories and a perfect snack.

>> you know you want it.

>> i do.

>> bean dip. beans are a combo of protein and fiber, which helps to expand in your stomach and keep you feeling full. you eat less. for a holiday dip there is nothing easier than taking a can of white cannelini beans, tossing it in the food processor with minced rosemary, garlic, a little olive oil and salt and pepper .

>> dark chocolate .

>> that's what i've been waiting for.

>> when you're faced with cupcakes, brownies and fudge, go for the dark chocolate if they have it. europeans came up with a study that shows there is something in dark chocolate that not only tastes so good but helps make our insulin more sensitive. your blood sugars are stable, you feel fuller and lose belly fat . dark chocolate almonds are the best.

>> thank you so much. this is "today" on nbc.

>>> the rockefeller center tree outside is lit for the holiday